At Oxwash, we have always done things differently. Oxwash was founded in response to the highly toxic and environmentally detrimental practices in the world of laundry, proving that there’s a better way to do business. Our mission is to permanently eliminate the impact of washing on the planet and people. We are the world's first sustainable, carbon neutral laundry company. We achieved this through accelerated efforts on four environmental issues: climate, water, biodiversity, and waste. As a B Corp certified company, we recognise that there is more to sustainability than carbon emissions. For this reason, we will always strive to go above and beyond for our people and our communities as well. During this B Corp Month, we want to tell you why and how we are doing it!
As an industry, laundry and dry cleaning is problematic. On average washing, drying, and ironing clothes contributes to 25% of a garment's carbon footprint. Traditional cleaning cycles release a lot of CO2 and use vast amounts of water, with an average load using 80 litres of water. A single wash and tumble dry cycle can produce 3.3 kg of CO2, which can add up to 603.9 kg of CO2 each year if done every other day. Washing clothes also releases plastic fibres, with an average wash cycle releasing around 700,000 of these harmful microplastics. These microfibres contribute up to 35% of all microplastics found in oceans, affecting marine life and ending up on our plates.
Unfortunately, traditional dry cleaning is equally harmful for both the environment and people. It uses Perchloroethylene ("Perc") solvent, which is a human carcinogen and has been already banned in some countries. Workers exposed to this chemical often experience headaches, dizziness, and nausea, and long-term exposure can cause miscarriages and leukemia.
Where traditional dry cleaning uses highly toxic chemicals and high temperatures, we are proving that it is possible to wash ‘dry clean only’ garments in a better way, without compromising the quality.
We offer a sustainable dry cleaning alternative, wet cleaning, where we use water and gentle biodegradable detergents at lower temperatures, as well as ozone supersaturation for disinfection. Our state-of-the-art machines ensure energy efficiency and the reuse of water, where possible. We also fit filters in all our lagoons to capture microfibres, diverting them from polluting our waterways.
All of our logistics are carbon neutral. Orders are collected and delivered by e-cargo bikes or electric vans. We’re especially proud of our net zero delivery and of our wonderful bike riders and drivers who safely return your items back to you.
Laundry is a resource-heavy service with over half of our emissions coming from the gas and electricity we use to power our lagoons. These are referred to as scope 1 and 2 emissions which we have direct influence and control over in our operations and offices. The other significant source of the emissions we monitor and strive to reduce is indirect and comes from our supply chain, business travel, waste and water (referred to as scope 3 emissions).
As a B Corp, we believe in both ambitious business growth and absolute emission reductions. In 2022, Oxwash joined hundreds of companies in setting science-based targets that will take us to net zero across all scopes by 2028. We’re incredibly proud to announce that we have made huge leaps in achieving these targets by transitioning to biogas in two of our three lagoons two years ahead of schedule.
As we continue to grow as a company and open the doors to our next-generation facility, Big Blue, we will prioritise low-impact practices to keep us on track to our net zero goals across our three scopes.
Our people’s unique talents, creativity and cultural perspectives help us move towards our mission to eliminate the negative impact of laundry. We are committed to continuously exploring the best ways to support our workers’ financial security, professional growth and wellbeing. As a certified Living Wage Employer, we promise to not only offer fair pay for all our staff, but also holistically nurture healthy working conditions.
Oxwash values and respects every team member equally: whether it’s our riders on the streets of Oxford, London and Cambridge, or our HQ staff located around the UK and beyond. We go beyond compliance with the Equality Act of 2010 and take pride in nurturing and supporting a diverse and unique workforce. We have a zero-tolerance policy for any discrimination and harassment, with a grievance and whistle-blowing system in place through line managers and our people team.In 2022, we worked together with charities such as Beam, to improve our hiring practices through more inclusive job applications, interviews, and onboarding processes. The introduction of bi-annual reports on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) brought visibility to our progress and allowed us to set informed targets.
We recognise that as a sustainable business, we want to support our communities and the people around us to grow and develop as part of our broader stakeholder engagement plan. Based on the National TOMS social value framework, we have identified four key areas in which we can use our skill, experience and service to make a positive difference in our local communities: addressing the rising cost of living, reducing water and chemical pollution, supporting the growth of the responsible regional business, and promoting local skills to youth and vulnerable people.
We are going above and beyond to make a difference and foster positive change in the world. But we can’t do it alone. All of the B Corps and their successes show that by collaborating as businesses we can do more! That’s why being a part of B Corp community makes such a difference - scaling up, we can make a real impact together.
As advocates for transparency, we share our complete impact, challenges, and commitments in our annual Sustainability Reports. By doing so, we can hold ourselves accountable for providing an exceptional service with a clean environmental footprint, as well as share useful knowledge and practices to inspire other businesses. Becoming a Certified B Corp means that now we are also legally bound to be transparent and held to account through continual monitoring and assessment of our impacts.
We use our business as a force for good, putting the planet and people at the core of everything we do. We are excited to celebrate with fellow B Corps who do the same, and to promote a way of doing business that goes beyond profit. Find out how Oxwash #GoBeyond for our employees, stakeholders and communities as well as the environment in our 2022 Sustainability Report.